This name is associated with a very ancient series of Polynesian legends, but they are imperfect, and hard to understand. The New Zealand stories relate that Kui was the wife of Tupu-tupu-whenua, and that they lived beneath the ground. To Kui is offered the sacrifice of a bunch of grass when a new house is finished.

Kui is the name of a small insect which burrows in the ground. This shows some relation with the insect (Phasma) which is supposed in the Hervey Islands (Rarotonga, etc.) to be the offspring of the goddess Kui the Blind.

In the Tahitian version of the legend of Tawhaki, the old woman counting her food over is called Kui the Blind. In the New Zealand story she is named Matakerepo ("darkened eyes").

In Mangaia (Hervey Islands), Kui the Blind is counting her taro, when the god Tāne steals them, as Mani steals them in the tradition of Manihiki, and Tāwhaki in the legends of Tahiti and New Zealand.



  • Gill, William W. (1855). Jottings in the Pacific. London: Religious Tract Society, p. 161.
  • Gill, William W. (1876). Myths and Songs from the South Pacific. London: H. S. King, p. 215.
  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, p. 42.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 180-181.
  • White, John. (1885). "Maori Customs and Superstitions." In T. W. Gudgeon, History and Doings of the Maoris from 1820 to 1840. Auckland: Brett, pp. 97-225, p. 107.

This article incorporates text from Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary (1891) by Edward Tregear, which is in the public domain.